Congress cuts military and development funds for Afghanistan

Afghanistan

Congress quietly cut US military and development aid for Afghanistan. These cuts leave the future of Afghanistan wide open, when NATO departs at the end of this year.

Twelve years of war in Afghanistan have resulted in 3407 NATO casualties, of which 2309 were US soldiers. In addition there are 17,607 wounded US warriors. The numbers exclude an untold number of soldiers that suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

There are a total of 1101 fatalities by other NATO countries, of which 444 are from the UK, 158 from Canada, 86 French, 54 Germans and 359 distributed among other allied nations.

Congress made these cuts
without any perceptible opposition by the Obama administration.

When the president took office in 2008, he stated that Afghanistan was the right and just war, but Iraq was a mistake. Unfortunately, as is evident in Iraq the job will once again be left undone. A war weary nation had enough of the war, but on the same token should the US permit Afghanistan to revert to its prewar state? This would add to the stress of those that served and make them feel that their contribution was worthless.

The US left Iraq under great fanfare, but without a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), thus no US troops were left behind. Al Quaeda has since been active in Iraq and has even captured territory. The Obama administration is running into a belligerent Hamid Karzai, who has no interest in signing an agreement. Without funding there will likely be a set back of the hard fought gains in Afghanistan.

With no perceptible opposition from the Obama administration, Congress has quietly downscaled Washington’s ambitions for the final year of the Afghan war, substantially curtailing development aid and military assistance plans ahead of the U.S. troop pullout.

As congressional appropriators put the final touches on a huge spending bill in recent weeks, they slashed Afghanistan development aid by half and barred U.S. defense officials from embarking on major new infrastructure projects. After making a bid last year for $2.6 billion worth of “critical” capabilities such as mobile strike vehicles for Afghan security forces, the Pentagon agreed it could do with just 40 percent of what it had sought.

Source: Washington Post

While the president had hoped to bring the war to a dignified end, the soured relationship with Hamid Karzai has left lawmakers with little appetite for more funding, even without debate. The lawmakers enshrined in the law “to prohibit the obligation or expenditure by the United States government, of funds appropriated in this or any other act, for the direct personal benefit of the President of Afghanistan.”

While the overall spending will not decline and remain at $85.2 billion. Perception, however, is reality. This bill will probably get Hamid Karzai to dig in his feet even further.

The Obama administration has most of the year to get a security agreement signed. Hopefully Afghanistan will not go the way of Iraq after US departure.

About the Author

Karl Gotthardt - Politisite Managing Editor Maj. Gotthardt is a Retired Military Officer with 35 years service in the Canadian Armed Forces. He spent most of his time in the Military in Infantry Battalions. Karl took part in training for Afghanistan as an Operator Analyst with the Canadian Maneouvre Training Centre. Karl is a qualified military parachutist and military free fall parachutist. He earned his U.S. Master Jump Wings in Fort Benning, Georgia. Karl enjoys working with horses for the last 24 year. He owns six. He has experience in breeding, training and of course riding.Karl was born in Germany and is fluent in both English and German and he speaks enough French to "get in trouble". Karl has written or writes at NowPublic, All Voices, Tek Journalism and many others.

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